Pixel 4 XL vs. Galaxy Note 10+: Which should you buy?

Galaxy Note 10 Plus
Galaxy Note 10 Plus (Image credit: Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

The Galaxy Note 10+ is one of the most expensive Android phones you can buy, but it's also one of the best. The hardware of the phone is top-notch, the AMOLED display looks fantastic, and the battery life is more than reliable. Add that together with powerful cameras and everything that comes with the S Pen, and you end up with one heck of an overall package.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Does it all

Gorgeous, bezel-free AMOLED display
Four rear cameras
Great battery life
Expandable storage via microSD
S Pen
More expensive
Bad track record for software updates
Display is only 60Hz

Google Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 XL

There are some things the Pixel 4 XL does really well. It takes insanely good pictures, the revamped design is excellent, and the 90Hz display makes everything look oh so buttery smooth. Battery life, unfortunately, is a big pain point. While the 4 XL should get most people through a full day of use, it'll be just barely so. For a phone this big and expensive, that's a real bummer.

Google Pixel 4 XL

Camera champ

90Hz display is butter smooth
Outstanding cameras
Matte glass back
Face unlock is ridiculously fast
Guaranteed software updates
Extremely weak battery life
No expandable storage
Many apps don't work with face unlock

The Note 10+ and Pixel 4 XL are two of the most prominent Android flagships on the market right now, but for the majority of folks, we have to give the Note 10+ the edge. Yes, its retail price is higher than the Pixel 4 XL, but it delivers considerably better battery life, double the available RAM, much more internal storage, an option to expand it with a microSD card, and more. The Pixel is a solid choice if you want one of the best camera packages available in a smartphone right now, plus you'll save some money in the process of getting it over the Note.

For most people, the Galaxy Note 10+ is the better purchase

These are two of the market's most expensive and powerful Android smartphones, but overall, we have to give the upper-hand to the Note 10+.

Battery life is perhaps one of the least exciting things to talk about when it comes to phones, but it's also the most important. If the battery life is bad, you're going to have a lesser overall experience. Unlike the Pixel 4 XL, the Note 10+ is excellent in these regards.

Heavy-to-moderate users will usually be able to make it to bed with well over 20% remaining, making this a phone that you can freely use to your heart's content throughout the day and still have some juice left in the tank to get you through the last bit of each day. When it comes time to charge up, the Note 10+ supports 25W wired charging speeds with the included charger and supports blazing-fast 45W charging if you buy the right accessories. As for wireless charging, the Note 10+ pulls 15W rates on any charger that supports it.

In other words, the Note 10+'s battery is big enough to get you through a full day comfortably, and when it does come time to charge up, you have plenty of options for doing so with fast speeds.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda/Android Central (Image credit: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda/Android Central)

Comparatively, this is the biggest downside for the Pixel 4 XL. It's possible to get through a full day on one charge, but you'll need to monitor how heavily you're using the phone and likely make use of Battery Saver once evening rolls around. If you're really pushing the phone, you can kill it fairly quickly in a matter of hours.

Wired charge speeds are slower at 18W, and while 11W wireless charging is supported, you need to use an EPP-certified charger. If that EPP certification isn't there (which it's not for a lot of affordable options), you'll be limited to 5W speeds.

While the battery is the most significant area in which the Note 10+ takes the lead over the Pixel 4 XL, there are a bunch of other things that add up to make it the better phone. You get a total of four rear cameras instead of just two, there's 12GB of RAM compared to the measly 6GB on the 4 XL, and you benefit from larger internal storage along with the option to further expand it with a microSD card.

That's a lot of stuff right there. As you continue to add on things like the S Pen, Samsung Pay with its support for MST and NFC payments, and the in-screen fingerprint sensor that works with more apps than the Pixel 4 XL's face unlock, it becomes easy to see why it's worth spending a bit more money for Samsung's handset.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy Note 10+Pixel 4 XL
Operating systemAndroid 10Samsung One UIAndroid 10
Display6.8-inchDynamic AMOLED3040 x 144060Hz refresh rate6.3-inchOLED3040 x 144090Hz refresh rate
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 855Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Rear camera 112MP main cameraf/1.5 - 2.4 aperture12MP main cameraf/1.7 aperture
Rear camera 212MP telephoto cameraf/2.1 aperture16MP telephotof/2.4 aperture
Rear camera 316MP wide-angle cameraf/2.2 aperture
Rear camera 4VGA DepthVision depth sensorf/1.4 aperture
Front camera10MP selfie cameraf/2.2 aperture8MP selfie cameraf/2.0 aperture
SecurityUltrasonic in-display fingerprint sensorFace unlock
Battery4,300 mAh3,700 mAh
Charging45W wired15W wireless18W wired11W wireless
Water resistanceIP68IP68

Making an argument for the Pixel 4 XL

Pixel 4

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

With all of that said, there is still an argument to be made as to why you may want to get the Pixel 4 XL over the Note 10+ despite its shortcomings.

For a lot of people, the main reason will be the Pixel 4 XL's camera package. While you are getting fewer lenses, the 4 XL captures some of the very best pictures of any smartphone on the market. They're filled with detail, have vibrant and accurate colors, and low-light images are outstanding. If you want a phone that'll consistently take jaw-dropping photos, the Pixel 4 XL is unmatched.

The other big draw to the Pixel is its software package. Android 10 is ready to go right out of the box, and as time goes on, it'll be first-in-line for major software updates and security patches. Samsung's track record for speedy updates has gotten better in recent years, but Google is still the champion in these regards.

Pixel 4 XL

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

We're also big fans of the Pixel 4 XL's 90Hz display. This is something we're gradually seeing on more and more devices, and it makes everything look noticeably smoother. Scrolling through Twitter feels faster than ever, supported games feel like they've been lathered in butter, and even just navigating through your app menu and settings feel really good. It's something you need to see in person to truly understand just how magical it is, and once you do, it's hard to go back to traditional 60Hz panels like the Note 10+ has.

Then there's the Pixel Neural Core. Google basically took its language-processing unit, baked it into the Pixel 4 XL, and this allows for a host of exciting upgrades. The Google Assistant is shockingly fast at understanding commands. Google's Recorder app captures audio with live, searchable transcription, and the Live Caption feature allows you to get real-time captions for just about any sort of spoken media on your phone.

You may not care about any of that stuff, but it's a lot of smaller tweaks like that, along with the superb camera that allows the Pixel 4 XL to hold its own against the Note 10+ even if it can barely make it through a full day's use.

Buy the phone that fits your needs the best

If we had to pick one winner for this battle, we'd go with the Note 10+. While it does cost a good deal more than the Pixel 4 XL, you're getting a better overall package at the end of the day. There's more RAM, storage, all of the functionality you get with the S Pen, and you can use it how you want throughout the day without having to live with battery anxiety.

That last point is what really puts a damper on the Pixel 4 XL experience, but so long as you can come to terms with the fact that you'll have to charge more often than you'd like, it has some big wins of its own, too — namely its cameras, software, and 90Hz display.

As such, we ask that you take a look inside yourself and understand what features matter the most to you. If you know you want to take the best pictures possible and don't care about a shorter battery, the Pixel 4 XL may make the most sense. For road-warriors and folks that are often away from an outlet, however, the Note 10+ will be an easy purchase.

Taking these things into consideration, look at how much money you're willing to spend, and from there, it should be pretty clear as to what phone is best for you.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.